University of Limerick
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Mental health concerns precede quits: shifts in the work discourse during the Covid-19 pandemic and great resignation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-16, 09:00 authored by R. Maria del Rio Chanona, Alejandro Hermida Carrillo, Melody Sepahpour FardMelody Sepahpour Fard, Luning Sun, Renata Topinkova, Ljubica Nedelkoska

To study the causes of the 2021 Great Resignation, we use text analysis and investigate the changes in work- and quit-related posts between 2018 and 2021 on Reddit. We find that the Reddit discourse evolution resembles the dynamics of the U.S. quit and layoff rates. Furthermore, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, conversations related to working from home, switching jobs, work-related distress, and mental health increased, while discussions on commuting or moving for a job decreased. We distinguish between general work-related and specific quit-related discourse changes using a difference-in-differences method. Our main finding is that mental health and work-related distress topics disproportionally increased among quit-related posts since the onset of the pandemic, likely contributing to the quits of the Great Resignation. Along with better labor market conditions, some relief came beginning-to-mid-2021 when these concerns decreased. Our study underscores the importance of having access to data from online forums, such as Reddit, to study emerging economic phenomena in real time, providing a valuable supplement to traditional labor market surveys and administrative data.


SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science

Science Foundation Ireland

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EPJ Data Science, 2023, 12, (49)


Springer Open

Other Funding information

MDRC acknowledges funding from James S. McDonnel Foundation. MSF acknowledges funding from Science Foundation Ireland under Grant number 18/CRT/6049. LS acknowledges financial support from Invesco through their philanthropic donation to Cambridge Judge Business School. We would also like to thank the organisers of SICSS London2021 for helping us kick-start this project and the Complexity Science Hub for funding the Workshop on the Great Resignatio

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  • MACSI - Mathematics Application Consortium for Science & Industry

Sustainable development goals

  • (3) Good Health and Well-being
  • (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth

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  • Mathematics & Statistics

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